SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

I just saw Slumdog Millionaire today and in light of its sweep in all nominated categories at the Golden Globes, all I can do is tilt my head and say “Really?” like Michael Bluth says “Her?”

Now I’m very happy for Danny Boyle because he’s never won any awards of much repute. I thought Sunshine (even in as strong a year as last) got robbed of Best Score, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects, so I will regard this recognition as compensation for Boyle’s whole body of work, like Scorsese’s Oscar for The Departed (but to be fair to the Globes, they honored the more interesting Aviator).

I recognize that the Globes may have a tendency to recognize more international fare, but this foursome of awards makes me think that everybody voted for the most recent movie they liked instead of thinking about the past twelve months.  Perhaps the November terrorist seige in Mumbai gave the film additional significance, which is fair enough, but Boyle’s colorful version of Mumbai is not much different than Tony Scott’s Mexico City in Man on Fire, except that (significantly I admit) it is from the point of view of a sympathetic insider rather than a judgemental outsider.

But I will say that Boyle deserves credit for gently introducing English-speaking audiences to sort of Bollywood-lite, a genre which is still relatively foreign to the US if not the UK.  And I did like the use (twice) of MIA’s “Paper Planes” which has been playing in my head ever since it played over the Pineapple Express trailer but was noticably absent from the film itself.

So congratulations, Danny, you’re finally getting the recognition you’ve always deserved. But Best Motion Picture of 2008, really? I’ll take Millions over Millionaire, which I doubt will make my Top Ten this year.

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3 thoughts on “SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE

  1. redison says:

    Totally agree. I liked Slumdog Millionaire, but prefer pretty much all of his other work over it. I’m not sure how its getting all the awards acclaim.

    The film seems never to find a stable or comfortable flow, or mood. It was almost as if the scenes were fighting with each other for our attention, each one more wrought and desperate than the last.

  2. Nobody says:

    Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that I didn’t enjoy it. It was a good movie, I just don’t think it was great. Even the contrivance of the premise — that the order of the questions follows the order of the events in his life that gave him the answers to them — was part of the nice metafictional theme: It is written. Like Stranger than Fiction without Emma Thompson.

    I think you’re right in your blog review that the novelty of the film is the fact that this very typical story (boy finds long lost sweetheart) is told in a completely fresh way, which is rare for the genre. But novelty is not enough to make a film great.

    I also wonder if I would have enjoyed the movie more if I hadn’t known the plot already, which I heard Boyle describe in a Sushine Q&A in April 2007. So the plot sort of felt two years old to me which made the movie feel like it was just going through the paces. As a result, in the middle I was hoping it would just speed up and get to the end. (Or was this sense of inevitability an intentional effect?)

    Fortunately though, there wasn’t any voice-over narration during the flashbacks which made it so much better than it might have been in the hands of a more conventional filmmaker.

  3. I really enjoyed slumdog millionaire and excited about it’s inclusion in this years generally lack-luster film mix.

    I’ll be interested to see how the film “weathers” over time – but i think this is the type of movie that a wide audience will be surprised that they enjoy and challenge some of the ideas about indie-cinema (not indian, but maybe that too).

    :-)

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